This unit guides learners towards introducing themselves and describing their origins in German. It covers regular verb conjugation in a simple way and provides practice with verbs such as wohnen (to live) and kommen (to come). There are also exercises related to the irregular verbhaben (to have).
These are question and answer flashcards. The first side has a greeting or question and the second side has an appropriate answer. The flashcards will “speak” if you click on the tiny microphone above the cards. A printout of this conversation is also provided below.
Hallo! Mein Name ist Phoebe und ich komme aus Neuseeland. Meine Eltern kommen aus England. Natürlich spreche ich Englisch, genau wie die Kinder in Australien. Meine beste Freundin heißt Sophie. Sie kommt aus China. Woher kommst du?
Ich wohne auf dem Land. Das finde ich super, denn ich liebe Tiere. Ich habe mein eigenes Pferd!
English Translation: Hello! My name is Phoebe and I come from New Zealand. My parents come from England. Of course I speak English, just like the children in Australia. My best friend is called Sophie. She comes from China. Where do you come from?
I live in the country. I think that’s wonderful, because I love animals. I have my own horse!
This is a unit of work for beginner learners who are starting high school German. I wrote it in 2017 and updated it in 2022, improving the downloadable unit booklet and adding two quizzes and a Kahoot. The audio files were kindly recorded by Anthony Jäckisch, a gifted and charismatic young teacher with a melodious voice.
↑A tribute to Jacinda Ardern, a woman of integrity, honour and kindness:It has been a pure pleasure to live in a nearby countrywhile Jacinda Ardern was the Prime Minister of New Zealand. I always hoped that her empathy, decency and humanity would rub off on our politicians in Australia. I wish her the very best for the next phase of her life.
This quiz provides practice with essential nouns, the concept of gender, subject pronouns and the conjugation of sein – to be. The last question includes a simple audio text with a fill-the-blank exercise.
These nine essential prepositions are always followed by the dative case. The example sentences below clarify their meaning and illustrate their usage. Click on each preposition in the list to jump to its description:
Many of the verbs below have multiple meanings. The examples focus only on the meaning that represents a precise opposite of the other verb. This list includes some commonly used and practical choices, but it is far from comprehensive.
Die junge Frau setzt immer einen Strohhut und eine Sonnenbrille auf, bevor sie am Strand spazieren geht. – The young woman always puts on a straw hat and sunglasses before going for a walk at the beach.
absetzen → to take off (a hat, glasses, etc.)
Der alte Mann vergaß vor dem Einschlafen, seine Brille abzusetzen*. – The old man forgot to take off his glasses before falling asleep.
*The verb abnehmen is also possible in this context.
It is a sheer pleasure to listen to the voice of Annik Rubens. She speaks clearly and slowly, so that you can distinguish every word. What’s more, you can download the PDFs of her podcasts and look up all the words you don’t already know. In the last few years, she has introduced a full-speed version as well as a subscription for seriously dedicated learners.
This is a charming classic of German children’s television. You can download the video podcasts via your podcast app on your smartphone and there’s even a dedicated Die Maus app. The “Sachgeschichten” are funny, quirky short videos that explain the things we’ve always wanted to know in simple, clever ways, with many visual cues.
This is the best translator in the world: intuitive, precise and accurate. It’s like having a German-speaking robot in your corner. The best way to use it is to type a text in German, observe how DeepL translates it into English and make any necessary adjustments, then watch how it translates your adjusted text back into German. Sometimes DeepL suggests alternative phrasing or a more precise verb. It is a tireless, all-knowing, uncritical teacher. You do have to be careful sometimes with colloquial expressions. After all, it’s not a human being.
This app trains you to remember the gender of German nouns and it is a surprisingly addictive sport. As you work through each thematic category, the app counts how many you get right in a row and keeps a tally of your progress in graph form. In addition to the app itself, the makers provide an online list of rules that will help you to predict gender and identify the patterns of German nouns.
Inap is from Nepal and he teaches German as a foreign language. His course is particularly helpful for beginners because he explains everything in both German and English, with the written as well as the spoken word. I like especially how Inap ties in relatable personal information; in the video above, for instance, he shows what he is cooking for lunch while delivering his lesson on lunch and dinner in German.
Rieke provides precise explanations of difficult vocabulary with examples based on life experiences or quality German texts. Highly recommended for advanced learners. Rieke offers a quiz based on each video as well. Her website is here.
On her YouTube Channel for advanced learners (B2, C1 and C2), Susanne explains fine distinctions between similar words, tricky grammatical rules, essential nouns that advanced learners really ought to know, and many idiomatic aspects of the German language.
This site provides hundreds of short audio and reading texts, along with questions and activities to check and improve comprehension. I find it particularly helpful that the questions focus not just on understanding but also on those tricky verb and preposition choices that can confuse even the most dedicated learner. Each video or audio comes with a full PDF text.
Forvo is a pronunciation dictionary. Once you have signed up to this free service, you can request pronunciations of tricky words and download the mp3 files generated by native speakers. For example, here is möchten, a perennially tricky word for learners.
This site provides an open-access online textbook for beginners. There are quizzes, videos, pictures to click on and various other interactive resources. All education should be as accessible as this. This site was kindly recommended to me by Andrea Reichert.
This was my favourite podcast in my first few years of German. The topics are light-hearted and rich in vocabulary, while the presenters speak clearly and with humour and wit. At this link, you can find both the audio and the texts.
The materials provided for German-speaking children on the internet are impressive and diverse. This site provides stories, videos, news commentary specifically for children, podcasts and documentaries.
A passionate scientist and physicist, Harald Lesch talks about our world and our future and he doesn’t pull any punches. He and his team provide subtitles, which is just as well, because he tackles complicated subjects.
This site is possibly more useful for intermediate and advanced learners. It provides hundreds of online examples of how an idea has been expressed in English and German. It’s especially useful for modern wording and phrasing that might not have reached the dictionaries. Dictionaries are based on searching for words (and hoping to find phrases); with the Linguee Dictionary, you can search directly for the phrases.
Mirko Drotschmann is the creator of this YouTube channel; he is knowledgeable, engaging and current. When there is a new development anywhere in the world, he publishes a new video within hours. His pronunciation is very clear and he speaks in a considered and impartial way. He also provides subtitles in German.
The website and the films, which can be watched online or downloaded via Apple.com and YouTube (or your chosen provider), are lively and engaging, featuring clever editing and including conversations with young speakers, often teenagers. The themes are current and the graphics eye-catching. Click on UT to read the subtitles as you watch.
Planet-Schule is a multimedia website offering materials and films relating to every conceivable school subject, with additional resources such as worksheets, audio and other materials. A number of broadcasting corporations in German contribute materials to this website, including WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) and SWR (Südwestrundfunk).
Planet-Wissenprovides a wealth of educational materials, including videos and articles presented according to school subjects and covering a vast range of themes. This is a joint project from SWR (Südwestrundfunk), WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), ARD alpha and Bayerischer Rundfunk.
These online exercises are graduated from easy (A1) to strenuous (C2). The whole site is in German and the presentation is very old-fashioned, but the A1 and A2 exercises are ideal for beginners – and you get a % mark straightaway.
There are several free podcasts from this journal, including OK, America? and Was jetzt?, my favourite news podcast in German.
A Few More Links:
•Deutschlernerblog: This is an extremely helpful site with many useful examples of wording and sentences, as well as tests, practice with hearing comprehension and much more. There are unfortunately quite a lot of advertisements.